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racter has been transmitted to posterity, that it was hard to say whether he was more dunce or dwarf, more unlearned or unhand
While he held the see, a mandate was obtained from Edward III. for taking down the walls of the former cathedral at Old Sarum, and of the houses there which had belonged to the bishop and the chapter, that their materials might be applied, as the king's gift, to the improvement of the church at Salisbury.
Not only the spire but the two upper stories of the tower were added when these improvements were made. This was so bold an undertaking in the architect that nothing but success could justify it. Michael Angelo's conception of hanging in the air the dome of St. Peter's did not imply a stronger confidence in his own skill than was manifested in this ambitious design of raising one of the loftiest spires in the world upon a building where the foundations had already received the load which they were calculated to support. The old wall of the tower, though strong enough when it was the summit of the pile, was slight in relation to the weight which it was now to bear. Half its thickness was occupied by an open gallery, and moreover it was perforated by eight doors, eight windows, and a staircase at each of its four angles. For the purpose of strengthening it, the windows were filled up; an hundred and twelve additional supports were introduced into this part of the tower, exclusive of iron braces; and three hundred and eighty-seven superficial feet of new foundation were formed. It is presumed also that at this time the arches and counterarches were raised across the small transept. The difficulties were so evident and so great that it has been said they
enough to have frightened any man in his senses from pursuing so rash and dangerous an undertaking.' It has, however, withstood the storms and the sap of more than five centuries, and we are told that, if carefully inspected, it may remain twice five centuries to come. Two stories of the tower were evidently raised at the time when the spire was added. From the centre of the tower the spire rises; four of its sides (for it is octangular) resting on the walls of the tower, and four on arches raised at the angles. The wall of the tower is there five feet thick, two of which are occupied by the base of the spire, two by a passage round, and one by the parapet. The wall of the spire gradually diminishes till, at the height of about twenty feet, it is reduced to nine inches, of which thickness it continues to the summit.
It is a remark of Mr. Fosbroke's (we believe) that architects should be cautious how they raise ponderous additions to old buildings, for who can say that the original builders may not, in many places, have stopt short in despair of completing their designs with safety? The spire of Redcliff church was evidently left
incomplete because of such an apprehension. A steeple which Browne Willis had contributed to repair or to re-edify at Buckingham, fell down in little more than twenty years, and Pennant narrowly escaped being crushed in its ruins, having providentially gone out of the church just before it fell.
The recent catastrophe at Fonthill is a nearer and more memorable example: there, as at Salisbury, there had been no intention of such a superstructure in the original design, and consequently no adequate foundation prepared for it; and, when that hasty elevation, which had been half hurried up by torchlight and midnight labour, as if to show what wonders could be performed by the wantonness of wealth, tottered to its fall, one might fancy that the Weathercock on the cathedral clapt his wings and crowed in honour of the old architect whose work, after the lapse of so many centuries, was standing in its beauty and its strength.
A settlement took place in this beautiful structure, it is believed, soon after its completion, at the western side, or rather in the piers, or clustered columns, under the north-western and southwestern angles of the tower. Such methods as were deemed best have been employed at different times to counteract the danger. At the top of the parapet of the tower, the tower declines nine inches to the south, and more than three to the west; but, at the capstone of the spire, the declination is twenty-four inches and a half to the south, and sixteen and a quarter to the west. In such an elevation this is not perceptible to the most practised eye, the height being 404 feet, according to the most approved measurement. That of Strasburg is 456; that of Vienna, which exceeds all others, 465: but Salisbury is the loftiest stone building that has ever been raised in this island. The spire of old St. Paul's, which was 520 feet in height, was constructed mostly, if not entirely, of timber and lead. But in such edifices, a wooden spire or a wooden roof (as at York) detracts much, and not without good reason, from the general impression which the structure would otherwise produce. The beholder has no longer the same sense of munificence in the undertaking, grandeur in the conception, difficulty in the execution, and durability in the work. His admiration is abated: the truth which is expressed in a homely proverb concerning silk purses is exemplified upon a great scale, and the reflecting mind is made to feel that, where the impression of richness or of grandeur is intended, the materials must be such as not to disparage the work. Salisbury spire is the great work of human power which it appears to be, and therefore excites even more admiration in an instructed than in an ignorant mind. Mr. Britton, looking at it with a severer eye, says of it that,' although it is an object of popular and scientific curiosity, it cannot pro
perly perly be regarded as beautiful or elegant, either in itself, or as a member of the edifice to which it belongs. That the edifice might be complete without it is certain; but would Salisbury Cathedral be admired as it is; would it be so beautiful, so impressive an object, either in the near or in the distant view, if that
silent finger pointing to the sky' were wanting? Whoever has seen it by moonlight, or in the silence of a clear morning, will not hesitate how to answer.
A small yearly sum, for the reparation of the spire, was bequeathed by Bishop Mitford in the succeeding reign. It was a weak reign, and, in proportion as the kings of England were weak, the papal authority exerted and strengthened itself: bishops whom their respective chapters had chosen, and the sovereign had approved, were set aside by the popes, and others by this foreign tyranny appointed in their stead. A case of this kind occurred at Salisbury under Richard II. Henry IV. was a prince whose pleasure carried with it more weight, and, in deference to his will
, Robert Hallam, whom the Pope had named to the archbishopric of York, was placed at Salisbury instead. Of all the prelates who held that see before the Reformation, Hallam is the most distinguished. He was deputed to the Councils of Pisa and of Constance, and in both represented his country and maintained its character with ability and firmness in an occasion where both were called for. An odd dispute had arisen, whether the English were entitled to rank as a nation, and vote in the Council accordingly. An Aragonese ambassador started the objection, which was resented so warmly by the English prelates and ambassadors that the sitting became tumultuous, and the Spaniard found it prudent to withdraw. But the question was taken up by the Cardinal of Cambray, Pierre d'Aillai, who thought it for the honour and interest of France to disparage England. Upon an intimation that he meant to enter upon this subject in a serinon before the council, Hallam, through the Elector Palatine, required him to forbear from that topic in that place; of this Aillai complained as an insult upon the liberty of the council. The cardinal learnt also that some of the English suite, in case he persisted, were preparing to take part in the dispute with such sharp arguments as swords, daggers, arrows and bills. To avoid disturbance and danger, and yet maintain his objection, he was for referring it to the College of Cardinals; other members of the council, who had no concern in the issue, would have persuaded both parties to let the matter drop, as sure to interrupt and possibly to frustrate the object of the assembly; but the English properly insisted that the affair had been made too public now to be quietly past
over, and they would have it brought fairly and fully before the council.
The arguments on both sides were not a little curious. The French protested that they had not the slightest intention of offering any offence to England, having only in view the welfare and union of the church, the happy progress of the council, the general advantage of Christendom, and the particular interest of France. But it was most unfitting, they argued, that England should, on this occasion, vote as a fourth or fifth part of Christendom, thus making its voice equivalent to that of all Italy, or all France, or all Spain, or all Germany, each of which nations contained within it kingdoms and nations equipollent to England. When Benedict XII. divided the pope's obedience, as it was called, into four nations, he reckoned England with Germany as one. When the same pope divided Christendom into provinces, for the purpose of regulating the chapters of the Benedictines, he allowed in that division six provinces to France, and only two to England, to wit, those of York and Canterbury. Evidently, therefore, there was no justice in setting England upon a par with France, which surpassed it so far in the number of its provinces, cathedrals, bishoprics and archbishoprics, universities, and all other characters which distinguish a nation. It was contrary to justice, they maintained, that so small a part of Christendom should have a voice equal to France, much less to Germany, Italy and Spain; and they required either that England, renouncing her pretensions to be a separate nation, should be reckoned in subordinate connection with the German nation, or that the other nations should be subdivided into several, proportioned to the English, or that the council should vote not by nations, but by persons; the mode for which the Popes and those who were opposed to any effectual reform in the church, always strenuously contended.
The English began their reply by premising that it was not their intention ever to refer a right so indisputable as theirs to arbitration; and that they answered merely to prevent ill-disposed persons from taking an advantage of the silence which they had hitherto observed for the sake of peace. The argument concerning the number of provinces they proved to be futile, showing that the distribution in question was made solely for the convenience of the prelates in their visitations, and for holding the chapter of the Benedictines. Then as to the antiquity and extent of their nation, they argued that Wales, Scotland, and Ireland ought to be accounted with England, just as Provence, Dauphiny, Savoy, Burgundy, Lorraine, and other provinces, which did not obey the king of France, were nevertheless included in the French nation. Eight kingdoms, they averred, were comprized in the
English nation: England, Scotland, and Wales, composing Great Britain, were three; Ireland four; and for the four others they went to the Orkney Islands, which they said were sixty in number, evidently including under that appellation the Shetlands, as well as all the other Scotch islands, and the Isle of Man. Even in extent, they said, England, which extended 800 English miles from north to south, that is forty days' journey, exceeded France; and it contained 52,000 parish churches, whereas France had not above 6,000. As to the antiquity of their respective churches, the memorialist gave sufficient credit to both: for while he claimed Joseph of Arimathea for the first apostle of England, he allowed that Dionysius, the Areopagite, stood in the same relation to France. But England could boast the honour of having given birth to Constantine, the greatest benefactor of the church of Rome; England could boast its constant submission to that church, never from earliest times having been involved in any schism; and England enjoyed the privilege of having two perpetual legatęs a latere. One language only was spoken within the French dominions, and in the English, there were, besides its own, Scotch, Welsh, Cornish, Irish, and Gascon. But they rested, finally, upon an argument creditable to that moderation from which the English government has never departed in its conduct towards other nations. If it were deemed necessary, they said, for the purposes of the council that Christendom must be divided into four parts, a geographical division, according to the four quarters of the world, was the most commodious, as well as the most natural: in this the east should comprize Hungary, Bohemia, Poland, and Germany; the west, France and Spain; the north, England with its dependencies, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway; and the south, Italy, with those countries who were of the Pope's obedience, as the inhabitants of Candia and Cyprus. A fourfold division could not be made by languages, there being so many; nor by kingdoms for the same reason; and if four kingdoms were preferred, the distinction would be arrogant and ambitious, and must produce ill feelings, if not ill consequences. For themselves they would consent to any arrangement, provided no wrong were thereby done to any nation or kingdom, and that they voted by nations, not by persons, as those would have it to be who had neither the reformation, nor the peace and union of the church at heart.
The English carried their point in this dispute, having not only reason on their side, but the authority of the Emperor also, who was very much influenced by the Bishop of Salisbury. That prelate is said to have been his right hand in all the measures of reformation which he began and seriously intended, but which